Urban population growth has permanently increased the commodity demands and freight flow within urban areas. The retail/postal industry is intent on finding appropriate internal approaches and a new business model to respond to the adverse impacts generated by urban freight activities. Usage of emerging transport modes is an efficient solution for these industries. Nevertheless, considerable research has paid less attention to the implementation status of distribution innovations, as well as to their suitability and application restrictions. Concurrently, a comprehensive consideration of various distribution innovations that operate together as a system is lacking. To this end, this paper adopted a literature review method and GE multifactorial analysis. Specifically, this paper reviewed the related articles that were published in the past six years (2013–2018) to define the concept of distribution innovations. In addition, we adopted the approach of GE multifactorial analysis to analyze the application status of distribution innovations from the perspective of academic research and company implementation. Following the suitability assessment and application of restriction analysis, we proposed the concept of sustainable inner-urban intermodal transport (SIUIT) for the retail/postal industry. This paper contributes to the sustainable urban freight literature by exploring possible future research directions of SIUIT.